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5 Books You Need to Read to Transform Your Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Alabama chapter.

Sometimes a reset is necessary to reach your greatest potential. When I was younger, I loved to read because it taught me things about myself. Here are a few books to help you learn and reflect on your past to move toward the future.  

Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall 

Every great ally needs to read this ASAP. In a justified critique of the white feminist movement, this book talks about how oftentimes in the movement we forget how different issues affect different populations, most notably how white feminism often leaves out the struggles of black and brown women. Feminism isn’t just fighting the wage gap and career advancements, it’s the intersectionality between race, class, sexual orientation, ability and gender. As Martin Luther King Jr. says, “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Educate yourself, girls.  

101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think by Brianna Weist 

If you can’t read something for more than 3 minutes at a time like me, this is the book for you. Weist explores pursuing purpose over passion, embracing negative thinking, seeing the wisdom in daily routine, and becoming aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. This is the hot girl manifesto. After a pretty rough breakup, I read this book to gain a different perspective on life and release my negative thoughts and gain a sort of balance, and it transformed the way I perceive emotions. One of the best tips it gave me is that when emotions erupt, don’t resist them, embrace the feelings. Sit in your emotions for a while so you don’t let your emotions control you. 

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie 

Now this one is a game-changer. I read How to Win friends and Influence People before my freshman year of college and the instructions in it transformed my social circle for the better. If you’ve ever been complimented by a drunk girl and y’all are immediately best friends after, she took a tip or two from here. My favorite chapter from this book is titled, “The Big Secret of Dealing with People” and it details the key ways to start a connection by complimenting them. The deepest principle in human nature is to feel appreciated. Now, in every social interaction I have, job interviews, at the bar, in Instagram DMs, I start with a compliment and immediately win them over.

Her. by Pierre A Jeanty

This is a wonderful book of poetry and prose focused on the beauty of women and speaks to self-worth. Sometimes you need the small reminders every day to look into the mirror and see your true beauty. Jeanty captures this essence in a beautifully succent manner (again for the lazy readers, like me). Comparison is the thief of sanity, and the author articulates everyday beauty in ways that are essential in today’s extreme set of beauty standards. Grab a few poems from this book every so often to reaffirm you of your true beauty.

Single On Purpose: Redefine Everything by John Kim

So much of our adolescent and adult life is wrapped up in the experience of love. This book teaches you how to live happily on your own. My mom used to say if you don’t know how to love yourself first, how could you ever know how to love someone else, and Kim’s assertions make this statement true. We often view being single in a negative light, often staying in a bad relationship just to avoid it, but Kim shows how to make this time a helpful growing experience. While reading this book, I had a realization that spending time trying to build yourself up shouldn’t only happen when you hit rock bottom, and it’s these self-reflection points that help you maintain the upmost peace in your life.  

Makayla Jordan is a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board and a freshman at the University of Alabama. She writes about politics, and culture and opinion pieces.